Music Curriculum Overview

Course Title:  GCSE Music

Awarding Body: OCR

Why study Music?

Musicians are amazing people. Not only do they know how to perform on their instrument(s) and/or with their voices, but they can also create their own music. They can work with other people, be creative, and show discipline when practising. They can listen to lots of different types of music and describe in detail what they hear. In order to understand music and how it works a musician’s knowledge spans Maths, English, Physics, Biology, Technology, History, Geography, Languages, Politics, Art and Culture.

Course Outline

The course aims to further develop the core musical skills developed in previous years:

  • Performing.
  • Composing.
  • Listening.

The course is divided into five Areas of Study:

  1. My Music (spotlight on my instrument).
  2. The Concerto through Time (1650-1910).
  3. Rhythms of the World.
  4. Film Music.
  5. Conventions of Pop Music (1950s - present day).

More information and the full syllabus can be found at:

Assessment Format

OCR GCSE Music (9-1) J536

Integrated Portfolio 30% - coursework.

You will develop solo performances and compositions for your instrument(s) and/or voice(s) based on Area of Study 1. 

Practical Portfolio 30% - coursework.

You will develop group performances and compositions to briefs set by OCR on Areas of Study 1-5.

Listening and Appraising 40% - examination.

You will answer questions based on Areas of Study 2-5 from musical extracts that you listen to.

What skills will I need to be successful in this subject?

Performance skills on an instrument(s) and/or voice(s); it is highly recommended that you take individual music lessons to complement and consolidate the work done in the classroom. 

Composing skills; creating music for yourself and others to perform.

Music Technology skills; Using Music Technology to realise your performances and compositions.  It is highly recommended that you have access to ICT music software at home.

Listening skills; being able to apply your knowledge of music to a wide range of styles and genres.

Possible Careers and Future Education

GCSE music can lead to a range of Further and Higher Education courses including A level music and music technology.  A selection of local music courses can be found here;

GCSE music can be the springboard for many music related career pathways including; Music Producer; Club DJ; Rock Star; Vocalist; Songwriter; Record Producer; Recording Engineer; A & R co-ordinator; Music Teacher; Composer; Music Therapist; Radio DJ; Music Director; Programme Director; Session Musician; Conductor; Booking Agent; Music Journalist.

More music career ideas can be found here